By Olivia Richie
Senior year of high school is a very bittersweet experience for many, as it includes having to say goodbye to friends. However, saying hello to their future can be very stressful and exciting. As students are forced to think about their futures outside of high school it may feel like it’s happening too fast. It would be a lie to say the process of applying for colleges isn’t stressful or hard work because it very much is a long grueling process. It is no different for the senior class of 2023 at Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS).
Many students are taking different courses of action for their future outside of PVHS, some students aren’t even planning on going to college. Some students are athletically committed to schools which makes their process much different from the normal application process. PVHS has always been known for its amazing academic and athletic performances which gives so many students that attend PVHS amazing opportunities to go to very established schools. While that is great for those select students, many students feel they need to be going to these big colleges because of what their peers are doing. “The hardest part for many students is that beginning part of applying for colleges, and that’s mostly from the expectations many students put on themselves based on what their peers are doing when the reality is most students end up at a local/in state colleges,” said Jennifer Lee the college counselor at PVHS. Ms. Lee helps many students with learning about the college application process and what it entails (Which includes helping and sharing information that may be of use for students applying.)
The traditional route for most students includes choosing a handful of schools, applying, waiting, and hoping to be accepted. While that sounds easy, each school has its own requirements and standards that the student must meet before applying. The traditional route is very lengthy and sometimes costly, so some students choose to take a different path for their future, this comes with its own unique worries. “While I’m not planning on attending college, the process of figuring out what to pursue concerns me most. I plan to attend a trade school which will provide a quicker and less traditional education so I can get into the work field faster,” said Ella Dimain a senior at PVHS who is taking a less traditional route into her future. Dimain mentioned how school has never been a must for her, “I currently have an office job right now and haven’t reached out or applied for any trade schools yet. That’s because I’m still trying to research and figure out how to go about it (applying for trade school).”
Some students have the privilege to get a full ride to colleges through athletic or academic scholarships, which isn’t rare to find at PVHS. PVHS has a handful of students who get this amazing opportunity. Continuing, if given this opportunity students to some degree have a free pass. “It’s very different from someone who’s applying to college normally, because there’s a lot of things that will be easier for me. For example, I don’t need an ACT/SAT score. However, the application process is similar; I must apply and send in an essay like anybody else, but the college knows I’m verbally committed to their school, so if I keep my grades up its pretty much a free pass,” said Zeta Washington a senior at PVHS who has committed to Cincinnati via a Division One volleyball scholarship. Although Washington may not have to go through as many hurdles as a normal first year applicant would, she has more restrictions as an athlete. She not only has to perform well academically to keep her scholarship, but she must perform to a very high standard athletically for the next 4 to 5 years.
Every student is different and not all take a traditional route regarding their future. However, all seniors moving on to the next chapters of their lives have one thing in common, which is the stress that accompanies the future. Some students don’t let it get to them and for some, it’s all they think about. Despite everything, the best advice seniors could hear as they step into adulthood is: you don’t have to have it all figured out now, take your future one step at a time.